10
Journalists and Their Education

As separate activities, journalism and education have been with us for several thousand years, but serious efforts to locate binding links between the two began only a little more than a century ago.

Joseph French Johnson, who inaugurated the first complete journalism curriculum within an American university, in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1893, had little more than his own experience to go on ( O'Dell 1935). As journalism education grew and spread, however, so also did books about journalism, not only handbooks by newspaper people but also the more analytical works by practitioners and by scholars in the field ( Mott 1950).

Along with these books about journalism, other books, articles, and studies began to set forth the types of education most appropriate for those who intended to become professional journalists. Among the best of these were Joseph Pulitzer's rationale for endowing a College of Journalism at Columbia University ( Pulitzer 1904, 641-80), the Vernon Nash dissertation Educating for Journalism ( Nash 1938), Paul L. Dressel Liberal Education and Journalism ( Dressel 1960), and David Host monograph Education for Journalism ( Host 1973).

All four recognized that journalists needed not only a professional education but also a broader--let's call it a liberal arts--education. Dressel and Host, in particular, also stressed that to determine what type of education future journalists need, one must first understand what journalism itself is.

In this chapter we hope to extend several of the insights set forth by those scholars; we also hope to amplify this book's general theory of journalism by showing how journalism education at its best both flows out of and back into the ideas discussed on the previous pages. Even though no general theory of education can provide the particular knowledge needed for action, it can, at least, provide a rational basis for discussion.

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